When you're constantly feeding your new baby, it's no wonder you forget – or are too tired – to feed yourself! Here's your diet after delivery made easy.
With your amazing — and exhausting — new 24-hour job (feed baby, change baby, burp baby, rock baby, and repeat), you barely have time to change your clothes, shower, or think about anything that's not baby-related. It's natural to be completely focused on your new little bundle, and completely unfocused on your own needs — like your diet after delivery. The problem with forgetting to eat, though, is that skipping meals deprives you of energy. And as you've certainly figured out by now, parenting takes lots of energy — even more energy if you're fueling a milk-making factory and need a solid breastfeeding diet. Here's how to get the best nutrition after pregnancy when eating's the last thing on your mind (or your to-do list):
TRICK 1: SNACK WHEN YOUR BABY SNACKS.
Your little one is eating every two to four hours now — and so should you. Sneak in small bites of fruit, yogurt, low-fat cheese, or whole-grain bread or muffins whenever you prepare to feed your baby — or, if you've mastered the one-handed feed already, whileyou're feeding your baby (talk about multitasking!). Stash healthy snacks within arm's reach (almonds and raisins next to your favorite nursing chair, a banana and a bag of crackers in your stroller bag) so your diet after delivery keeps you satisfied.
TRICK 2: JUST SAY YES!
When friends ask if there's anything they can do to help, suggest they pick up a roast chicken, a tray of lasagna, prewashed bags of salad greens, a giant carton of fruit salad, a platter of veggies and dip, or a dozen whole-wheat bagels (melt a slice of cheese on top of one of those babies, and you have yourself a healthy mini-meal staple for your diet after delivery). Try to keep your kitchen stocked with easy-to-prepare foods you like, so that thinking about what to eat takes no thought at all.
TRICK 3: BEFRIEND YOUR FREEZER.
If you cooked in quantity while you were pregnant, now's the time to defrost those homemade goodies and enjoy them. If you never actually got around to following through on your make-ahead plans, stock up on frozen dinners and snacks (look for healthy ones — your store should carry plenty) for your diet after delivery. More nutrition after pregnancy shortcuts: Frozen vegetables are as nutritious as fresh, and a lot faster to prepare, and frozen fruit makes a quick smoothie when blended with yogurt.
TRICK 4: DIAL UP A DELIVERY.
Nobody deserves deliveries as much as someone who's just made one (a significant one). Tap into every delivery option available to you — groceries (sure, you won't get to squeeze the peaches, but at least you'll end up with some), delis, restaurants of every kind from sushi, now that you can, to pizza. (In fact, getting good nutrition after pregnancy should be a breeze compared to your taboo-ridden pregnancy diet!) Consider ordering ahead a few meals, so that you'll have something to reheat tomorrow (or tonight, when that midnight feeding leaves you starving).
TRICK 5: PLAN AHEAD.
If you're boiling an egg for lunch, boil six so they're ready and waiting for you tomorrow. If it's salmon salad you crave today, crack open a large can so that you'll be able to fish for an easy snack the next day. Bake a half-dozen potatoes at once — it's quick and easy to warm them later (with some pre-shredded Cheddar and leftover broccoli). Ditto brown rice — make a box, and reheat it all week. And if you actually manage to get to the market, linger where the prepared foods hang out (bag a rotisserie chicken, sliced roast turkey, turkey meatloaf, ready-to-eat veggie and fruit salads). And don't forget to visit the salad bar — heap a few dishes high with your favorites (but keep the dressings on the side so you don't end up with limp lettuce tomorrow).
TRICK 6: DRINK, DRINK, DRINK.
Keep bottles of water in every room of the house, so no matter where you and baby are, you can grab a quick drink. To keep yourself hydrated (dehydration leads to postpartum fatigue — something you've got plenty of already, thank you), make sure you have a drink every time baby does.